Dec 6, 2012 12:00pm EST
of giving u.s. workers and businesses a chance to compete and vote in favor of pntr. i might add, madam president, i want to pretty much thank my colleague from utah, senator hatch, who is a very good person. we have worked very closely together. the two of us make a good team to get this legislation passed. mr. hatch: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: i want to praise the distinguished chairman of the committee. he has done a wonderful job on this. of course it's been a pleasure to work with him. madam president, this bill marks an important step forward in our relations with russia and moldova. once this bill is signed into law, our workers, job creators and farmers will be able to take full advantage of russia and moldova's ascension to the w.t.o. -- accession to the w.t.o. the bill citrus strong enforcement provisions to ensure that russia lives up to its international trade obligations. finally this bill will help advance human rights and the rule of law in russia. today's vote would not be possible without the combined efforts of many dedica
Dec 5, 2012 9:00am EST
today. madam president, across the country, americans are lamenting that lack of progress in negotiations to avoid a massive tax increase on middle-class families -- and i really share that frustration. consider yesterday's failure, the disabilities convention at the hands of the tea party. this shouldn't have been a battle, but extreme elements of the republican party picked a fight where there was nothing to fight about. 38 republicans voted against the convention, including several who are on record supporting it, even cosponsors of it. this treaty already ratified by 125 countries would hold foreign nations to the same high standard of treatment that the united states already maintains for people of disabilities. and it would sative american citizens traveling and working abroad, and that's hundreds of thousands of people right now. the treaty has the support of veterans groups, disability groups from around the country, virtually all of them. it wouldn't cost the taxpayers a single penny. it wouldn't require any changes to existing united states law, and the issue is
Dec 5, 2012 12:00pm EST
for the immigration of its citizens, affecting mainly soviet jews. it was controversial in its time. madam president, people said why are we connecting human rights to trade? why is the united states doing that? after all, trade is so important. well, we did it and it made a huge difference, and we were able to get soviet jews out of the soviet union. we spoke for western values in our trade legislation. we protected the rights of individuals that refused this. when i first came to congress 26 years ago, i joined the congressional caucus for soviet jewry. i wore the wristbands. 25 years ago, i marched in washington, a march for soviet jews. we stood up for basic rights, and we changed the landscape on this issue. i had a chance to be with natan sharansky and celebrate what he meant to freedom around the world. we initiated that with jackson-vanik. it's a proud chapter in american history. today we end that chapter because jackson-vanik is no longer relevant to the human rights challenges of our time. but with the passage of the sergei magnitsky accountability act, we meet the challenges of our time.
Dec 5, 2012 5:00pm EST
support this legislation before us. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan is recognized. mr. levin: madam president, i understand now under the existing unanimous consent agreement that we are going to be proceeding to debate a judge. i would ask unanimous consent that immediately after the disposition of that nomination that i be the first democratic senator recognized when we return to the pending trade bill. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to consider calendar number 676, which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, michael p. shea of connecticut to be united states district judge. the presiding officer: the senator from vermont is recognized. mr. leahy: madam president, the senate is finally being allowed to vote today on the nomination of michael shea to be a district judge in the united states district court for district -- the district of connecticut. it has taken a long time for this day to c